Caterers are cooks and food preps who make large amounts of food for parties, galas and events. Instead of working in a restaurant and making food to order, caterers prepare all dishes at once, course by course, so that everyone is served at the same time by banquet servers.
Caterers may work with the event hosts to create a menu, work with special requests, and often cook in non-kitchen rooms or with mobile food prep stations, depending on where the event is being held.
Caterers buy the food, prep the food, move it to the location and finish off the cooking and plating so that each dish is hot and delicious, whether they are serving 10 or 1000 guests.
No Formal or specific education is needed to become a caterer, though you may benefit from attending culinary school. Indeed, it relies more on the ability to produce and deliver good food Working as a waiter or in another role in the food service industry also helps.
Being a caterer combines a sense of business with a love for food and hospitality.Another option would be to complete a cookery diploma or masters course at a private school. However, the business and organisational aspects of the job may be made much easier with some teaching.
The teaching more specifically focused on cooking in general rather than catering, which entails more focus on the business side of things.
Caterers need a passion and flair for good food and the organisational and business skills to deliver that food to large numbers of people, on time, and in good condition. This means being a flexible cook, being prepared to meet the demands of a client, and having a good sense of cost, customer service and hospitality.
Catering operations are run as private businesses and many caterers are therefore self-employed. This involves a range of separate skills, including managing accounts, dealing with staff issues, maintaining a contact list and working in a team to deliver a professional and consistent service. Being prepared and well-ordered will ensure that things run efficiently and a good service is delivered.
- Creativity: Caterers are often in charge of creating new and innovative dishes for celebrations or events, as well as knowing what will be possible to cook all at once. Knowledge of ingredients and how to use them in a creative way will serve you well.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Caterers work with knives and must have excellent technique when cutting and preparing food. Hand-eye coordination is needed.
- Sense of Taste and Smell: Serving delicious food brings to customers creates business. Caterers are the last line of defense to make sure each piece of food is safe, prepared correctly and tasty.
- Time Management Skills: Kitchens get busy quickly, food can get ruined easily if you cannot manage your time. Great time management will help you avoid burned or spoiled food and angry customers.
- Business Acumen: Caterers must understand the business. You have to balance your expenses with your profits, manage the kitchen staff, minimize waste, and keep the kitchen running smoothly.
The catering and hospitality industries have become a lot more sought after than in recent year. They can offer excellent careers for anyone without formal qualifications or for anyone looking to change careers and escape a 'boring' office job.
Employment of Caterers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Those with several years of work experience in food service and a degree in hospitality, restaurant, or food service management will have the best job opportunities.
ARE YOU FIT FOR THE JOB?
If you work for a company, you'll be in charge of food preparation and may be responsible for other logistics. You'll create a menu that meets the client's specifications, including meals, refreshments and snacks. You'll be expected to work long, irregular hours days before and during an event, which may be held in an indoor or outdoor setting.
Whether you’re thinking about going to school to become a Caterer, you’ve just graduated and need some advice to start your career, or you’re interested in a career change, this definitely suits you.
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